Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., awoke with a
headache the morning of December 10, 1996.
She expected to spend the day at the Harvard
University lab where she worked mapping
how brain cells communicate. Instead, she
ended up having a massive stroke.
More specifically, the left hemisphere
of her brain was bleeding from an
arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a rare congenital condition
she wasn’t aware she had that results from an abnormal connection
between an artery and a vein. As the blood from the rupture
clotted, it pressed against her brain’s language centers, causing her
left hemisphere to shut down over the next several hours. This
eventually left her with access only to her right brain’s perception—
an opportunity the neuroanatomist found fascinating.
At one point, before she realized what was happening, Taylor was
attempting to take a shower and almost lost her balance. She put out
her arm to steady herself, and when she looked at her arm pressing
against the wall, she couldn’t tell where the atoms and molecules of her
limb ended and where those of the wall began. They had all blended
together in a shimmering fluidity.
“It was all just energy,” she remembers. In the midst of what she
would later realize was a life-threatening medical emergency, she was
experiencing euphoria and a blissful sense of oneness with all that is.
In our discussion for this issue’s “Listening in With …,” Taylor
talks about the abilities the stroke gave her, including a greater
understanding of the right-brain perspective and how we can live
more peaceful, expansive, and joyful lives by deliberately tapping
into the right hemisphere more often instead of giving it short shrift.
Our lives work much better, she explains, when we respect both
hemispheres equally. In a more balanced state, Taylor insists, peace
can truly be a conscious choice; we have way more power over our
thoughts and their effect than most of us realize.
On a different note, you’ve no doubt noticed that with this new year,
Unity Magazine has a new look. We’ve improved the graphic design and
have condensed our longer columns to make room for a few new ones.
Noted genetic researcher and ordained New Thought minister Dawson
Church, Ph.D., will be taking a scientific look at the mind/body/
spirit connection in “Healing, Science, and Spirituality,” while Rev. Ed
Townley will share the metaphysical meaning behind various passages
from the Bible and other sacred texts in “The Spirit of Scripture.”
These new columns are just the beginning of an effort to cover more
advanced spiritual ideas and practices. While we hardly shied away
from that in past issues, we’re dedicated to diving even deeper in the
future. Check out our new mission statement, which appears on the
table of contents, for a fuller picture of where we’re headed.
Katy Koontz, Editor
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